The three-part TLC special Jill & Jessa: Counting On aired last night to the fanfare of many Duggar fans who have been waiting for the premiere since its announcement back in September. Although the three-part special was originally promoted as a series that would revolve around the two most recently wed Duggars, Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald, it seems that the network first wanted to address the Josh Duggar scandal that has plagued the family over the last four months.
The Jill & Jessa: Counting On premiere opened with producers asking various members of the Duggar family, “How would you describe the last four months of your life?”
The premiere of Jill & Jessa: Counting On was hotly anticipated by Duggar fans and began by addressing issues that have weighed heavily on the family over the last few months. The Duggar family has been open about their conservative Christian values, so when oldest Duggar son Josh openly admitted to not only molesting his sisters at a young age but also cheating on his wife, Anna, and having an addiction to pornography, Duggar fans across the country were in shock. The family that so many thought they knew was revealed as a “fraud” in many loyal fans’ eyes.
However, many fans were quick to stand by the Duggars, even using the hashtag #IStandWithTheDuggars. These fans noted that the actions of one family member should not reflect poorly on the entire family and were eager for the Duggars to return to the television screen. These fans got their wish when TLC announced that they would be airing a three-part Duggar special called Jill & Jessa: Counting On.
So did the new 19 Kids and Counting spin-off live up to the expectations of Duggar fans? It seems that many fans tuned in for the big premiere with many noting they were crying right alongside the Duggar children as they answered questions about how Josh Duggar’s transgressions affected the family as a whole. The stars of the new show, Jill and Jessa, both spoke out about the issue. Jill noted that the past four months have been “different than what she expected,” whereas Jessa said it was “really difficult.” Other Duggar siblings to speak out included Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, John-David, Joy-Anna, and Jana Duggar. All of the Duggar children seemed to share the sentiment that life was difficult following the scandals and that Josh was not the person that they had once believed him to be.
After addressing the scandals, the Jill & Jessa: Counting On premiere then focused on Jill Dillard’s preparations to leave for Central America and Jessa’s pregnancy. Jill and Jessa joked about who got bigger during pregnancy, and fans got to watch as Jill practiced her midwife skills on Jessa by checking her baby’s heartbeat.
Video from Jill and Derick Dillard’s going away party were shared as Derick shares concerns over the state of the countries they will be visiting, and the episode ends with Joy-Anna, Jinger, Josiah, and Jill sharing closing statements about the future of the Duggar family. Joy-Anna says there will be a “new normal” in the family while Jinger says she is “so grateful” for the controversy since her family is coming closer together following the scandal. Josiah reiterates that the family will have to “stay together” to get through the hard times and Jill notes that they just have to take things “one step at a time.”
“There are exciting things, and I’m sure more challenges, down the road, but right now, we are just taking it one step at a time.”
For those unable to watch the Jill & Jessa: Counting On premiere, check out the videos above for a recap. Did you watch the first episode of Jill & Jessa: Counting On? What did you think of the Duggar siblings’ responses to the questions surrounding the Josh Duggar controversies?
[Image via TLC/YouTube]